"Swami, please speak to me..." - By Dr. Sunder Iyer

The One, We All Love

“GOD is more truly imagined than expressed, and 
He exists more truly than is imagined.”
- Anonymous

Sometimes, when I begin to write about someone whom I love, great and beautiful feelings arise in my heart. However, when it comes to confining these emotions to a limited set of alphabets and words, found in a few pages of dictionaries... that becomes an impossible task. Hence on occasions when I speak or write about our Lord, I always resort to an easier mean. In other words, one’s feelings and such one’s relationship with his God, has always been personal, and such experiences can never be revealed. But then there are always the Divine manifestations of the Lord which are perhaps, the fruits of such intimate relations that can be shared. When the Lord lets the devotees experience His majestic omniscience and omnipotence, then it becomes a Leela. And it is these Leelas that have been a perennial source of faith and inspiration to all those who have sought shelter at His Lotus Feet.

I open the worn out pages of my old dairies, and I dig into them to find out which of these experiences can I share with you. I cannot help but feel...

What intimate hours I once enjoyed,
How sweet their memory still.
But they have left an aching void,
That world can never fill.

Swami proceeding to the interview room
February 21st, 1981... and my hand stops. As I go through this page, my mind races back the corridors of time and I find myself seated in the first line in the evening time and Swami finishing His usual Darshan, has just taken some devotees for an interview.

It so happened that during those times, I had just ventured into the Yoga path, and the initial enthusiasm was in its full swing. Yogasanas, breathing exercises, postures and various practices and all such matter occupied the place of prime importance among my thoughts and often I would indulge in fantasy... roaming in the Himalayas clad in a loin cloth perhaps... or lying next to a snow leopard... performing austerities, Tapas, etc. But as it happens to most of us, these ideas remained and vaporised within the realm of fantasy, for I soon found that somehow, the monthly special lunch bell had the power to penetrate through the deepest of my Samadhis and I would invariably be the first in the line, waiting for the dining hall.

But, nevertheless, in the years that have followed I have kept on, and in spite of all my shortcomings, Sai has always seen me through these. The experience I am going to relate, is of my one such occasion, when He let out His hand for me to grasp, as if saying, “Come on, you have a long way to go.”

And I am a seasoned seed
From Your own stores
My growing up, therefore
Is Your responsibility.

Sathya Sai with Students at the Hostel, Prasanthi Nilayam Campus, in early 1980s
Swami had come a few days earlier to our hostel and pleased us with His Divine discourse. One of the points that caught my attention was that of the chanting of ‘Soham’ Mantra. Swami explained and demonstrated how this sacred Mantra can be chanted through regulation of breath. Immediately, all meetings were held and resolutions were passed in mind (which is not a very uncommon feature for those of my category) and I decided to practice it for the rest of my life.

Three days had passed, and I diligently practiced this Mantra as and when possible. As each day had passed, and as evening drew near, my heart would bloom with expectancy, perhaps Swami would acknowledge my ‘sincere’ practice, speak a word to me, or give me a Namaskar. The first day passed without even as a so much of a glance, but I was not deterred. I went on more firmly. But, somehow, when on the second day, Swami passed by me, without as a so much of a glance, my spirits were down in the dumps. Nevertheless, a ray of hope still hung in the frail cobwebs of mind, for, the next day, our class was going first in the line.

So, the evening of this third day found me sitting in the first line in the portico. The sun was just setting for his nightly intermission, and even as his golden rays bathed all of us not merely in light, but also in quite uncomfortable warmth, my mind was going on “Soham... Soham...”

Finally, the door opened and the usual hush passed over the atmosphere. All attention was on the door, expectancy accompanied by eager eyes and prayerful hands. My already upright position became more upright, as He came closer. “Swami” my mind uttered softly but in all vanity. Swami, here I am looking at You... speak to me.” Swami passed by me, spoke to a boy next to me, smiled, patted him and went on.

He finished His usual round of Darshan and came back. By then, the portico was full of devotees who had been chosen for interview. I knew now that the probability was nil. As He passed by me once again, the sort  uttering of my mind now gave way to ferocious yelling (fortunately, all this was within). “Swami,” I screamed within my mind, “I have done what You advised, for three days now and there has been no response from You.” But He heard me not and the few more seconds that passed were filled with an unforgettable war between prayer and despair.

Leisurely as ever, Swami mentioned the devotees inside, and with a last look that went above my head, a smile to my partner. He closed the door and the floodgates holding my tears opened. My upright position now became low and I was busy fighting my tears lest somebody should see.

Most of the shadows of life are 
caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.

All my hopes were shattered; the fruit that my ego so eagerly sought was now beyond my reach. Even the innermost hidden desire to tell my friends, how Swami had responded to my spiritual Sadhana, lay bare. I was thus vainly trying to hide the nakedness of my spirit in a few drops of tears, perhaps those of anguish, humility and repentance.

It is not a matter of respect or otherwise that He is called the God of Love. It is an experience of everybody who knows Him, who has been with Him, and who has tasted His nectarine Love. Hardly a few minutes had passed, when Swami opened the interview room door and came out. He was standing right in front, with His back towards me, watching the ladies go in. My mind was calm by then, and drying up my tears, I let out my hand to touch His Lotus Feet. And then it happened.

Swami with students in the verandah of the Prasanthi Nilayam Mandir
When He was about to go, Swami turned towards me, He had probably materialised some Vibhuti inside so His fingertips were still full of them. Within a flash of a second, He took a step, and as I looked up at Him, His beautiful face broke into a smile. Eyes pouring out Love, He looked into me, and saying, “Pichi (mad)?” He let His thumb press my forehead (the place between the eyebrows), and rubbed in the Vibhuti that was still there.

No soul can forever be banned,
Eternally bereft,
Whosoever falls from God’s right hand,
Is caught into the left.

The page in the diary ends here, and as I slowly close it, I make up my mind.

- Dr. Sunder Iyer 
Student, Doctoral Research Scholar & Former Faculty, Department of Commerce,
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning,
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus

Source: Sai Nandana 1985 (60th Birthday Issue)


  1. Sairam,wonderful divine experience. Waiting is pain but end up with a touch of satisfaction with divine intervention.
    Vishnu Vardhan

  2. He always answers prayers. But probably in the beginning he was just trying to tell "So Ham", you and I are one. No need of me giving anything physically.

  3. He always answers prayers. But may be in the first instance, he was trying to say "So Ham" you and I are one. So there is no need of any physical experience.

  4. Nice poetry , sweetly laid for manking - God's love.

  5. Sairam wonderful experience; had tears in my eyes
    jai sai ram

  6. So many lovely days we spent with God! I have had some amazing experiences. I wish i could relive every moment again. The best days of my life!

  7. Swami...you come at the right timing when the devotee needs you not when the devotee wants you. In between this need and wants a devotee loses his faith mostly but he should know that you are testing his faith.
    Currently i am also in this phase waiting for you swami .In order to clear your test i am surrendering to you my lord.

    Jai Sai Ram


Back to Top